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Staffing News Online

NJSA's Staffing News Online is a monthly e-newsletter that is available to the staffing industry.  The content for Staffing News Online comes directly from our industry partners.  If you are an NJSA industry partner and would like to submit content for Staffing News Online, please email office@njsa.com with your article.

  • Friday, February 26, 2021 9:06 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Two River Benefits

    The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently added nine new answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) to its existing guidance on how employers should comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other fair employment laws while also observing all applicable emergency workplace safety guidelines during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

    Guidance for Employers

    The new FAQs address mandatory workplace vaccination programs and the restrictions that federal fair employment laws place on them. In general, employers may require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations as long as they provide reasonable accommodations for employees who refuse to take the vaccine for medical or religious reasons.

    The EEOC’s new FAQs generally clarify, among other things, that:

    • Employers may require employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations;
    • Employers that require vaccinations may need to provide accommodations, or show that an unvaccinated employee would pose a direct threat;
    • Vaccination-related questions from employers must be job-related and consistent with business necessity; and
    • Any medical information obtained in the course of a vaccination program must be kept confidential.

    Employers with 15 or more employees should become familiar with and follow the guidance provided in all of the EEOC’s FAQs about ADA compliance, and employers should ensure that they comply with state and local anti-discrimination laws as well.

    While the COVID-19 vaccine is not yet available to the general public, employers should begin to plan for when there is broader access.

  • Friday, February 26, 2021 9:03 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Becker LLC

    Healthcare Staffing companies, in particular, routinely provide base pay as well as per diem expenses  (i.e. food and lodging) as part of their total compensation package when recruiting and hiring travel nurses. In fact, for many travel nurses, the payment of the per diem expenses is part of the allure, as per diem payments are typically tax-free. Likewise, employers may benefit from such an arrangement (if done within the constraints of the law) as it permits payment to travel nurses that may otherwise be taxable and subject to various wage and hour restrictions, including, overtime.

    However, in the recent 9th Circuit decision of Clarke v. AMN Services LLC, the Court, in reversing a lower court’s decision in favor of the employer, stated not so fast, the per diem payments there should have been classified as compensation and not tax-free benefits because the payments were compensation for work rather than as reimbursement for expenses incurred by the travel clinicians. The Court, in reaching its decision, relied on, amongst other guidance and case law, 29 C.F.R. §778.224(a), which states that payments excludable from wages “do not depend on the hours worked, services rendered . . . or other criteria that depend on the quality or quantity of the employee’s work.”

    The employer in Clarke v. AMN Services LLC, had two different policies regarding its per diems: (1) pre-2014: “the per diem payments were prorated based on hours missed: for each hour a clinician failed to work, [the employer] would deduct $18 from the weekly per diem benefits”; and (2) post-2014: generally, “if a clinician contracted to work three shifts per week misses a shift, “the per diem allowance . . .advanced to her the week before [is] adjusted by one-third.”

    While the Court noted, that “[r]eimbursing traveling clinicians for seven days of expenses even though most clinicians only work three days a week is justifiable because the clinicians are scheduled to work away from home for a prolonged period and are not expected to travel back and forth to their home base each week”, the Court found that the employer’s policy of taking “pro rata deductions from its per diem payments [were] unconnected to whether the employee remains away from home incurring expenses for [the employer’s] benefit. Instead, the deductions connect the amount paid to the hours worked while still away from home, thereby functioning as work compensation rather than expense reimbursement.” Thus, the Court reclassified the per diem payments as wages, subjecting such payments to taxes and increases to the applicable travel clinicians’ overtime wages.

    While, this case was based on a specific set of facts, the Court, undoubtedly, dealt a significant blow to per diem payments and the Healthcare Staffing Industry. All Healthcare Staffing companies should immediately review and update their contracts and policies in accordance with this case.

    About Becker LLC: Becker LLC is a premiere mid-market firm recognized as a leader in the staffing industry. With offices in New York, California, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, the firm provides forward thinking, mission-critical advice to staffing industry entrepreneurs and management on high stakes, complex legal matters as well as day-to-day matters and long-term plans. The firm are proud to be members of the following Staffing Associations: SIA, ASA, ASG, TempNet, CSP, MSA, NJSA, NYSA and serves as general counsel to the Mid Atlantic Staffing Association.

  • Friday, February 26, 2021 9:02 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Haley Marketing

    The cornerstone of a successful email marketing program is a solid list. And whether you're planning to send emails to clients, candidates or both, you need to make sure your email list is clean.

    What Does a "Clean" Email Marketing List Mean?

    Having a clean list means no emails that are:

    • Out of date
    • Irrelevant
    • Misspelled
    • Opted Out

    Maintaining a list that's both robust and accurate (i.e., it targets current and relevant decision-makers) is critical to the success of your marketing and overall business success. Not only will cleaning up your list make for better internal records, but it will also make sure you are sending intentional content that answers the questions people on your lists are asking.

    How Can You Clean up Your List?

    To start cleaning up your list, go through it to search for typos or misspellings. An email won't go through if you spell Outlook as Outlok by accident. Then, check to see if anyone you know has moved on to another company or asked to be removed from your mailing list. Make sure they are not still receiving your emails, as they could file a SPAM complaint if they opt-out and their request is not honored.

    Can't You Just Purchase a List and Be Done with It?

    You can…but we don't recommend it. Using a purchased list may be quick and convenient, but it's also highly likely the list will contain addresses that are not compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act (violations of which could cost you up to $43,792 – PER EMAIL).

    As an alternative, consider partnering with email and content marketing experts like Haley Marketing. By working with a reputable and qualified agency, you have access to a mailing system with filters that work to clean your email list for you. Not only does our system keep track of opt-outs, it also filters out bad/misspelled and invalid email addresses and sends you a report so you can fix just the emails with those issues instead of hunting them down on your own time.

    Remember, your email marketing campaign's success depends on the quality of your list. Make a habit of regularly reviewing, updating and growing your marketing list – so your marketing delivers the results you need.

  • Monday, February 01, 2021 1:55 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Assurance

    How to Survive A Hard Liability Market

    The insurance marketplace is recurrent in nature. When the market is soft, insurance carriers are competing for business; therefore, rates are lower, underwriting criteria may be more flexible, and coverages are broadened. When the market is hard, there’s a reduced supply of insurance causing coverages to be narrowed and rates to be generally increased.

    What Contributes to a Hard Market:

    1. Adverse loss trends/catastrophic losses – both the frequency and severity of claims is on the rise. Specific to the staffing industry, Auto Liability and Employment Practices Liability have been loss leaders and carriers are not collecting enough premium to cover the cost of claims. Litigation trends and increased medical costs have also led to higher payouts.
    2. Decreased carrier capacity – as carriers take on poor loss experience, they respond by restricting the classes of business and lines of coverage they want to insure.
    3. Decrease in carrier investment returns – typically the bulk of carriers’ profits are from investment returns even if they have an unprofitable underwriting year. Reduced returns are causing carriers to restrict their underwriting appetite.
    4. Lack of Reinsurance – as reinsurance becomes more costly or difficult to obtain, underlying carriers will increase rates as they are forced to take on more of the primary exposure or they will exit classes of business entirely.

    What to Expect in a Hard Market:

    1. Premium increases/lack of affordable coverage
    2. Increased scrutiny on submissions – requests for additional applications, historical data, detail on losses, controls, and exposures
    3. Restrictions in coverage – via policy forms or requirements for increased retentions
    4. Unavailability of higher limits or coverage enhancements
    5. Conditional or non-renewal notices
    6. The need to change carriers, work with more carriers, or obtain coverage through the excess/surplus lines marketplace

    How to Survive a Hard Market:

    • Stay ahead of the renewal process and communicate early with your broker to identify how you will be impacted.
    • Be prepared to provide much more detail at the time of renewal.
    • With shrinking capacity, carriers will be decreasing the number of brokers and wholesalers they work with. Be sure to partner with a broker with strong carrier relationships and knowledge of your industry.
    • Work with your broker to review your policies and procedures to understand where improvements can be made to secure more favorable quotes or reduce your liability to uninsured losses where coverage restrictions are imposed.

  • Monday, February 01, 2021 1:51 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Two River Benefits Consultants, LLC

    Enacted on Dec. 27, 2020, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) includes a $900 billion coronavirus relief package that provides funding to individuals and businesses.  

    The CAA also includes benefits and tax provisions affecting employers, group health plan sponsors, health benefits brokers and health insurance issuers.  Some provisions are currently effective, while others begin on future dates.

    Click here to download the article.

  • Monday, February 01, 2021 1:48 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Haley Marketing

    One of the best ways to boost traffic to your staffing website is to publish more (and more useful) content. However, part of your content strategy should include a content refresh. Most companies rarely think about refreshing what they already have, but it can be an effective way to gain more traction in search engines.

    Why Refresh Old Content?

    You know the value of working smarter rather than working harder. A content refresh is faster than planning, developing and optimizing new content. It is also a great way to:

    • Improve click-through rate (CTR): You could be losing clicks because your headlines or meta descriptions are outdated or don’t quite align with search queries.
    • More efficiently create long-form content: Dig into your data to find out which pages and blog posts once generated a lot of traffic but have slowed. You can merge content to create long-form content or expound on existing content to make it more robust. Long-form content can help you improve your bounce rate because you become a definitive source for answering questions.
    • It helps you meet Google’s demands: Google likes to serve up content that is relevant, authoritative, and fresh. Updating old content helps you check off these boxes.

    How to Assess and Choose the Best Content to Refresh

    You never want to approach a content refresh willy-nilly. Lean on your website data to know where to focus your efforts. You want to spend time on the pages and posts that have the potential for generating qualified traffic.

    Use your analytics to locate your oldest pages. Then, identify pages that have experienced a dip in traffic. Don’t limit yourself to only pages that performed well in organic search. Include social media shares and clicks, as well. Choose content to refresh by picking out those that have outdated content that should be updated or content that is still relevant today.

    How to Get More From Existing Pages

    Remember, the key is to work smarter, not harder. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when refreshing your content. You can:

    • Update title tags and metadata: If your title tags and meta descriptions don’t include keywords, update them so that they do. The inclusion of keywords in tags is not a ranking factor; however, it helps users judge whether your content is relevant. Click-through rate IS a ranking factor, so using keywords is wise to help boost clicks
    • Update outdated portions of pages: Staffing and recruiting are in a constant state of evolution. Update old content that may offer outdated advice or content that doesn’t align with current industry best practices. You may also want to update blog posts that contain outdated screenshots, stats or data, as well.
    • Add video: Adding a video to a post can instantly boost its effectiveness.
    • Improve readability: If you use the Yoast SEO plugin for your WordPress website, it will generate a readability score for each page and post. If you identify pages that have poor readability, go through and make them more concise and direct.
    • Make copy user-focused: Odds are high that some of your older pages were written with search engines in mind rather than users. Pages that have keywords stuffed in them or don’t have a singular purpose and focus should be updated.
    • Make short posts more robust: Blog posts don’t need to be lengthy, but if you find some that are less than 350 words, expound on the concepts in the post to make them more useful and robust.

    Remember, a content refresh should be conducted in tandem with new content creation and ongoing SEO improvements to your website. If you want to improve your website’s visibility and organic traffic, contact Haley Marketing Group to help develop an SEO strategy today

  • Monday, February 01, 2021 1:47 PM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by TempWorks Software

    The COVID-19 pandemic has forced staffing agencies to get creative and adapt to the many restrictions that have now been in place for close to a year. Many have found the hardest hurdles to overcome are the confusion over school closures, the difficulty of distance learning, and the lack of childcare. But some organizations have devised brilliant solutions to adapt to these restrictions. One such company is our client Graham Personnel Services, who have implemented in-office education and childcare, complete with a teacher to help employees’ children with their digital learning.

    “We have a large lobby, and we converted it into a classroom for our recruiters so that they could bring their children in. We knew childcare and home schooling would be a significant issue for people,” says Will Graham, COO and co-owner of Graham Personnel Services.

    Graham Personnel Services opened their in-office school in August. Employees’ children (as well as nieces and nephews) have been attending Monday through Friday, accommodating a variety of schedules and modes of distance learning. To top it all off, Graham Personnel Services has also hired a teacher to help the younger children. “One of the moms came to us and said her children are doing the best they ever had. The classroom is smaller and they are getting more one on one time,” says Graham. “That shook me up, that was a pretty special day.”

    The atmosphere of an office changes when kids are nearby. Art projects and books decorate the hallways, laughter is always in the background, and there are costumes on Halloween—creating an environment that is enjoyable not only to children, but to employees as well. The result is a winning balance between work and home life. “We’ve been voted best company to work for, for 4 consecutive years,” says Graham. “We try to really take care of our people, to walk the walk instead of talking the talk.”

    Times of crisis often foster innovation, and Graham Personnel Services has illustrated that perfectly in their adoption of in-office childcare and schooling. They have also shown that such innovations often improve work life in the long run, even when they sprang from something as difficult as a pandemic

  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020 11:16 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Withum

    On Monday, December 21, 2020, Congress released the version of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“CAA” or the “Act”) that was passed and sent to President Trump. Nearly five days after signaling to Congress that the bill needed more direct aid to the American people, President Trump signed it into law on December 27, 2020. The Act is extremely comprehensive, containing more than 5,500 pages, and includes government appropriations provisions and the long-awaited stimulus package.

    Click here to read the full article.

  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020 11:15 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

     Submitted  by Becker LLC

    December 17, 2020: Michael Bartels, Chief Development Officer of Becker LLC, interviewed fellow Industry Partner Tony D’Amicantonio, Vice President & Staffing Practice Leader of Odell Studner, discussing the hot topics Tony has consulted with his Staffing Clients about during the Pandemic and looking forward to 2021.

    Click here to download the article.

  • Wednesday, December 30, 2020 11:13 AM | Denise Downing (Administrator)

    Submitted by Avionte

    As an end-to-end software solution for staffing and recruiting firms, Avionté aims to be a resource for your needs from front- to back-office processes. As year end reporting season approaches, here are some 2020 tax form updates to two major forms of which firms across the US and Canada should be aware.

    1095-C Updates for Employers providing ICHRAs

    In 2020, employers had a new option for providing health care to their employees: Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangements (ICHRAs). If you provided an ICHRA to employees, take note of these new instructions for the 1095-C.

    2020 Instructions for Form 1095-C

    Under the ACA, large employers are required to offer ACA-compliant coverage to their full-time employees or pay an employer shared responsibility payment penalty to the IRS. This requirement is commonly known as the employer mandate. Large employers are those with an average of at least 50 full-time employees (including full-time equivalent employees) in the prior calendar year. The employer’s health coverage is ACA-compliant if it meets minimum essential coverage, minimum value and affordability requirements.

    The federal agencies have determined that ICHRAs meet the minimum essential coverage requirement and will meet the minimum value requirement if the ICHRA is affordable. In general, affordability is based on (1) an employee’s compensation, (2) the amount the employer contributes to the ICHRA, and (3) the premium for the lowest-cost silver health plan available to the employee on the Exchange taking into account the employee’s age and location (residence or primary worksite). The federal government has developed a tool employers can use to determine the lowest-cost silver plans in states using the federal Exchange. Consequently, a large employer may be able to meet the employer mandate by offering its employees an ICHRA rather than a traditional group health insurance plan.

    Tax Form Updates for Employers providing ICHRAs

    Age: If the employee was offered an individual coverage HRA, enter the employee’s age on January 1, 2020. Note that for non-calendar year plans or for employees who become eligible during the plan year, this age may not be the Applicable age used to determine Employee Required Contribution.

    Line 14: Codes 1L through 1S are available to indicate the affordability of ICHRAs offered by employers. They should be used under the following circumstances:

    • 1L: If an ICHRA is offered to employees only and affordability is determined by a ZIP Code, which identifies an employee’s primary residence
    • 1M: If an ICHRA is offered to employees and dependent(s) (not spouse) and affordability is determined by a ZIP Code, which identifies an employee’s primary residence
    • 1N: If an ICHRA is offered to employees, spouses, and dependent(s) and affordability is determined by a ZIP Code, which identifies an employee’s primary residence
    • 1O: If an ICHRA is offered to employees and affordability safe harbor is determined by the ZIP Code of the employment site
    • 1P: If an ICHRA is offered to employees and dependent(s) (not spouse) and affordability safe harbor is determined by the ZIP Code of the employment site
    • 1Q: If an ICHRA is offered to employees, spouses, and dependent(s) (not spouse) and affordability safe harbor is determined by the ZIP Code of the employment site
    • 1R: If an ICHRA is not affordable and is offered to employees; employees and spouses or dependent(s), or employees, spouses, and dependents
    • 1S: If an ICHRA was offered to a worker who isn’t a full-time employee

    Line 17: If the ALE Member used code 1L, 1M, 1N, 1O, 1P, or 1Q because it offered the employee an individual coverage HRA, enter the appropriate ZIP code used for identifying the lowest cost silver plan used to calculate the Employee Required Contribution in line 15. This will be the ZIP code of the employee’s residence (code 1L, 1M, or 1N) or the ZIP code of the employee’s primary site of employment if the ALE Member uses the work location safe harbor (code 1O, 1P, or 1Q)

    T4 CEWS Data Requirement Updates for All Canadian Employers

    For the 2020 tax year, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will be introducing additional reporting for the T4 slip, Statement of Remuneration Paid. Additional reporting requirements will apply to all employers, and will help the CRA validate payments under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and the Canada Emergency Student Benefit (CESB).

    How to report employment income during COVID-19 pay periods

    For the tax year 2020, in addition to reporting employment income in Box 14 or Code 71, you will use new “other information” codes when reporting employment income and retroactive payments in the following periods:

    • Code 57: Employment income – March 15 to May 9
    • Code 58: Employment income – May 10 to July 4
    • Code 59: Employment income – July 5 to August 29
    • Code 60: Employment income – August 30 to September 26

    Eligibility criteria for the CERB, CEWS, and CESB is based on employment income for a defined period. The new requirement means employers should report income and any retroactive payments made during these periods.

    COVID-19 & Year-End Resources

    Refer to the Avionté Knowledge Base for our library of resources of updated information regarding COVID-19 & Year-End reporting. Also, each Monday the Compliance – Tip of the Week is sent to clients whom have signed up for the newsletter. Sign-up here for weekly Compliance updates – Tip of the Week Newsletter

    For more information, and before acting on any information contained within this article, Avionté recommends consulting with your legal counsel. This information should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal advice.

Click on the dates below for Staffing Online News archives from 2017 and 2018.  

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